Wrongful death lawsuits are a type of personal injury suit that seeks to compensate a deceased person’s loved ones if their life is lost due to someone else’s negligence. A wrongful death suit can be initiated if someone behaves either negligently or recklessly, and those actions led to someone being killed. If you are a victim of a wrongful death suit, you are entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages. Meant to compensate those who are left behind, the compensation for a wrongful death suit usually go to a victim’s spouse or children.
To prove your wrongful death lawsuit, there are four elements that you have to show
The four elements that are necessary to prove your wrongful death lawsuit are critical to winning your case. If you can’t prove all four, then you won’t be able to receive fair compensation. This is why hiring an excellent personal injury lawyer, who is experienced in wrongful death lawsuits, is critical.
Just like any personal injury suit, to prove that someone is responsible for your injuries, you have to show “negligence.” Negligence is a legal term that means that you either did something that was the cause of someone getting hurt, or that you failed to do something that led to someone being injured. For wrongful death suits, you have to prove that the defendant did something careless or reckless to establish their negligence as the first component to proving your case.
Breach of duty
To win your wrongful death suit, you have to prove that the defendant in your case had a duty to the deceased person through some relationship that they had. For instance, if a pedestrian is hit by a motorist, the motorist has the obligation to be more vigilant when pedestrians are present and to give them the right-of-way. If they failed to do so, then that would constitute a breach of duty. So, not only do you have to prove that there was an obligation on the defendant’s behalf, but you must also show that they breached that duty.
For a successful wrongful death suit, you not only have to prove that there was a breach of duty, but that it was that specific breach that led your loved one’s death. You have to prove a line of causation from the defendant’s actions to the death of your loved one.
If you can prove the first three components of a wrongful death suit, then the last element to prove is that there were damages suffered. Damages can be economic factors like funeral costs, hospitalizations, medical costs, burial costs, loss of income including future wages, guidance, and loss of protection. You can also include noneconomic damages in the form of emotional distress experienced by those who are left behind or any pain and suffering of the victim themselves.
The burden of proof
To win your wrongful death case, the burden of proof is on you. Since it is not a criminal case, however, the burden is set much lower. You don’t have to prove that there was a preponderance of wrongdoing; you just have to prove that there was negligence with or without intent.
The most common types of wrongful death cases
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically related to things like:
- Medical malpractice
- Product defects
- Birth injuries
- Commercial truck, motorcycle or car accidents
- Premises accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Criminal actions that lead to someone being killed
- Occupational hazards and exposure
If you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you might have recourse to receive compensation. The key is to be able to prove the four necessary elements. To help you do so, it is imperative that you hire a wrongful death attorney who understands wrongful death suits, and knows what you are entitled to and what evidence you need to prove your case in a court of law. When you lose someone you love, it is only right that you should be fairly compensated for your loss. Make sure that you take steps to hold those who were negligent accountable.